“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

There is only one certainty in life, and that is change. Circumstances arise, either good or bad, which require a response. How we respond, especially to adversity, depends upon our character and resolve. On our inner strength. Like many habits, inner strength can be attained.

It doesn’t matter if someone is thought of as weak or timid; they can still grow and achieve the inner strength necessary to overcome any of life’s challenges. But it’s not easy.

Inner strength, resilience, wherewithal, whatever one calls it, must be forged. The only way it can be forged is through conscious effort. Challenges must be thought of as opportunities, because that is exactly what they are. One cannot attain inner strength without challenges. This makes challenges vital to growth. When we give into challenges without a fight, we become weaker. When we resolve to overcome any obstacle, we become stronger. It’s simple to understand, but difficult to achieve.

There are things that we can do to build upon our inner strength. Before we get into the list, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, nobody is going to be strong 100% of the time. Second, failure on the path to achieve inner strength is inevitable – it’s the response that’s important. It’s essential to get back up, and resolve to do better. There’s only one roadblock to achieving inner strength, and that is complacency.

Here are 10 ways to build inner strength:


1. Learn to relax

Building inner strength does not mean rushing around and draining ourselves. To build inner strength, it’s important to have some energy. If there are difficulties – with finances, family, work, etc. – find a way to recharge the batteries. If that means going for a run, meditating, taking a bath, reading, do it. When we prioritize and choose our battles wisely and take the time to recharge, we’re in a much better position to handle whatever comes our way

2. Spend time with positive, productive people

Again, personal energy reserves are important to cultivating inner strength. Spending time with people who care for themselves and others is a terrific way to gain and maintain energy. Negative people are energy sappers; they have a tendency to complain and make other’s lives more difficult. When trying to build inner strength, this is an unnecessary burden. Also, spend time with people who are productive and accomplished – energy flows this way also.

3. Forgive ourselves

When trying to cultivate and carve out a new, stronger identity, it’s possible that we’ll reflect on times that we may have come up short. It cannot be emphasized enough: the past is the past. Again, this is a difficult thing to do. However, when we’re actively trying to improve ourselves, especially our character, it’s very important that we have the ability to forgive ourselves from any and all past mistakes that we’ve made.

4. Build confidence

If we’re going to build upon our inner strength, it’s helpful to be in a confident state of mind. There are a couple of ways to achieve this. First, reflect upon any and all past accomplishments and ask if there were any roadblocks that needed to be overcome at the time. This is important because it reinforces that objectives can be achieved despite of difficulty. Second, remember that nobody is perfect. Even people who we think are successful still have difficulties in life. It’s often inner strength that is the deciding factor.

#5 Try using affirmations

Many people have found affirmations to be an important part of their being. When trying to cultivate a new, stronger self, come up with some affirming phrases to state (even if it’s to just us) throughout the day. Maybe try saying a few affirmations first thing in the morning and a few when going to bed. It’s important to remind ourselves that we’re valuable and each brings something unique to this world. Add in some affirmations that include phrases on inner strength.

#6 Create outer strength

Developing a strong inner self is actually more holistic than it may sound. It’s important to have a strong foundation by taking care of our physical needs. We should be taking the time out to get in some kind of physical exercise – running, biking, yoga, etc. – to build upon and maintain this foundation. Also, make a conscious effort to eat healthy food and get an adequate amount of sleep each night.

#7 Watch or read something motivational

There are people, past and present, who have achieved extraordinary success mostly because they were exceptionally strong of mind. Some suggestions for people to listen to are: Stephen Covey, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Wayne Dyer, Oprah and Tony Robbins. Some of the people on this list overcame some very difficult circumstances on the way to achieving what they have.

#8 Take responsibility

Here’s something very important: we cannot (cannot!) build inner strength by making excuses. If there is a situation that we’re responsible for and we fail, we must own up to it. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. But it’s absolutely necessary to take responsibility for our actions. Mentally strong people do not make excuses for themselves. If we want to cultivate a core of inner strength, we must follow their examples. If a mistake is made, admit it, forgive, and move on.

#9 Work towards short and long-term goals

One terrific way to gain inner strength is by achieving our goals step by step. Notice the three words “step by step.” Sometimes, we have a tendency to want things now. This cannot be so with anything worthwhile, but here’s what we can expect: we can expect to earn inner strength with every step that we take towards the achievement of our goals. Nothing breeds confidence, accomplishment and inner strength like progress. Progress is one of the keys to building stronger versions of us.

#10 Celebrate success

This success doesn’t have to be money or status; in fact, it probably won’t be. But if we consistently apply principles to build a stronger person, we’ll see definite results. In being stronger people, we can expect to earn rewards that others will not. When things begin to come to fruition, make sure to savor moments like these. All of that hard work in developing character has paid off and will continue to do so.